Giancarlo Stanton will not return to the Miami Marlins this year due to the slow recovery of his broken hand.
Stanton broke his hamate bone back on June 26th on a swing, and has not played since. An operation involved removing the bone, with recovery time expected to take less than two months. Due to a lack of strength in his hand and scar tissue, Stanton has been unable to return from the disabled list.
When Stanton went on the DL in June, he led the National League in home runs with 27. The outfielder was voted into the All-Star Game as a starter, and was on pace for Most Valuable Player type numbers. Stanton knocked in 67 runs in only 74 games, and it is likely he would have surpassed 100 runs batted in by a wide margin.
The Marlins will finish in third place this year in the National League East, and struggled to find consistency in their offense until this month. With Stanton out of the lineup, opposing teams found it easier to maneuver around Miami's lineup for two months. This month however, the Marlins have the best record in Major League Baseball even without their best offensive weapon.
Stanton signed a 13-year contract last off-season and was playing for a relatively low salary in 2015. His contract is team-friendly in 2016 as well which could allow Miami to put some extra talent around him. Many times this year, pitchers worked around Stanton with off-speed pitches. With a reliable powerful bat behind Stanton, it is likely that pitchers will throw more fastballs to the star.
Part of the reason for Miami's resurgence in September has been the impact of Justin Bour. The first baseman has stepped in as the Marlins top offensive force, and has launched home runs at a Stanton-esque pace. With 23 home runs in only 388 at bats, it is possible that Bour could reach 30 if given a full season. That just may be the case to begin 2016 as Miami could hand the everyday 1B job to Bour.
Stanton is expected to be ready to compete when spring training gets underway in February.